Tour of Northeast Holland

Discussion in 'WW2 Battlefields Today' started by 17thDYRCH, Aug 27, 2015.

  1. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    As fate would have it...
    Three more members of 7th Recce Rgt would lose their lives when their carrier from Nine Troop "C" Squadron ran over a mine near Leer. The crew of six were evacuated to the hospital where Cpl B.J. McKeown, Trooper W.L. Huber and Trooper J.T. McLelland died of wounds. This from the WD dated May 11, 1945.

    They are bured at Holten Canadian Military Cemetery.
     
  2. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The pertinent passages from the History of the 7th Recce (Duke of York's Royal Canadian Hussars):

    DYRCH History 1.jpg DYRCH History 2.jpg
     
  3. canuck

    canuck Token Colonial Patron

    Randy/Stolpi

    :cheers:

    Many thanks for this excellent thread. Phenomenal photos and information. A battlefield tour group could easily use this content as a template for their next trip. The stars didn't align for me t make this trip but looking forward to joining you in 2016.

    After all the miles and the many campaign locations you visited, any lasting impressions or conclusions on the battles fought?
     
  4. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Thanks Canuck - but we're not finished yet! ;)

    One more day to go ...

    ... and yes: it would be great if you could join us next time :moose:.
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
  5. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Tim,

    Lasting impressions....

    1) The Dutch do not forget what the Canadians ( and the British and the Americans ) did to rid their country of the German occupiers. Would we ever think to teach our children and our grandchildren more about the 20th century rather than the 'peace keeping' version that is the norm today. But that is another topic.
    2) We were green going into Normandy but we were a very professional fighting force at the end. As one Veteran of the Afghanistan conflict once said " you don't f- - k with the Canadians.|"
     
  6. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Stolpi,

    For the forum members, would you mind expanding on the site www.tracesofwar.com

    Cheers
     
  7. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    I would like to add that the liberation of NE Holland was not a 'walk-over' as it is sometimes presented. It remained a grim, tiring and above all dangerous job for the fighting men. The anguish of death or mutilation was a constant companion. The knowledge that the war was nearing it's end - it was clear to all that the Germans were finished - didn't mitigate this, on the contrary it provided extra tension; you didn't want to get hurt or killed in these last days of the conflict. That the soldiers kept on going - as one veteran once told me - was because they knew the way forward was the shortest way home.

    Oh, what with the wounded
    and what with the dead.
    and what with the boys
    who are swinging the lead.
    If this war isn’t over,
    and that goddamn soon,
    there’ll be nobody left
    in this bloody platoon.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2018
  8. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    At the end of day 4 we returned to the Arnhem area. From there we had an early start on Day 5 to the village of Mill, to the south of Nijmegen, where we paid a visit to the memorial of the 1st Canadian Armoured Personnel Carrier Regt, which has a real (life) Kangaroo on display.

    07 Kangaroo Mill.jpg

    Mill en Sint Hubert-20150920-00351.jpg Mill en Sint Hubert-20150920-00350.jpg Mill en Sint Hubert-20150920-00349.jpg Mill en Sint Hubert-20150920-00352.jpg

    For the location see: Ram Kangaroo Armoured Personnel Carrier Mill - Mill - TracesOfWar.com
    11 kangarooAPCtechnicaldrawings[1].jpg

    Next stop was at Rha, a tiny hamlet along the IJssel River just to the south of Zutphen. Here a monument & plaque commemorate the 16 soldiers of the Queens own Rifles of Canada who fell during the battles in that area in early April 1945.

    Memorial to Q0R at village of RHA  April 6'45.jpg Zutphen-20150920-00354.jpg

    For the location see: Monument voor de Canadese Queen’s own Rifles (QOR) - Rha (Brockhorst) - TracesOfWar.com
     
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2018
    krrc60 likes this.
  9. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    0 Operation Canonshot  Buffalo.jpg

    Op Canonshot (Crossing the IJssel River) - April 11th, 1945

    The assignement to clear the western part of Holland went to the 1st Cdn Corps, under Lieutenant General Charles Foulkes, which had been brought up from Italy to NW Europe in mid-February 1945. 1st Cdn Corps consisted of the two Canadian divisions tramsferred from Italy: 1st Cdn Infantry and 5th Cdn Armoured Division. The Corps was brought to full strength by the attachment of the British 49th Inf Division.

    The first task of Foulkes' Corps was to cross the line of the River IJssel - which barred the way into western Holland and behind which the German 25. Armee had sought refuge. Foulkes plan called for a crossing at two spots: on April 11th, 1945, the 1st Cdn Infantry Division would cross the IJssel at Gorssel (Op Canonshot); followed on April 12th by the British 49th Infantry Division (West Riding) at Arnhem (Op Anger). The 5th Cdn Armoured Division then had to exploit the bridgehead established at Arnhem and dash across the stretch of elevated wooded ground, known as 'Veluwe', in a NW direction to the IJsselmeer, so as to outflank and cut off all enemy troops facing the 1st Cdn Infantry Division (Op Cleanser).

    Victory-13.jpg

    For Canonshot also see: Operatie Cannonshot, de oversteek van de Ijssel

    For a description of 'Operation Anger', the liberation of Arnhem, see: Liberation of Arnhem - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    We visited the crossing site of the 1st Cdn Infantry Division at Gorssel, a village midway between Deventer and Zutphen. Here a memorial at the crossing site commemorates the river assault. Unfortunately it's giving 12 April 1945 as date for the operation (should be April 11th):
    memorial to OP Cannonshot  April 11'45  Gorssel NL.jpg

    IMG-20150920-00356.jpg

    For the location of the memorial see: http://en.tracesofwar.com/article/23500/Memorial-Canadian-Army-Gorssel.htm

    River Crossing at Gorssel the church of Wilp is visible in the background.
    Gorssel crossing site.jpg

    We crossed the river with the small foot ferry which is operating at the actual crossing site:
    007.JPG 006.JPG 004.JPG

    Sketch map of the operation at Gorssel (Courtesy: Bevrijdingskroniek Veluwe).

    0 Gorssel landing.jpg Map Gorssel.jpg

    In mid-afternoon of April 11th, 1945, the 2nd Cdn Inf Bde led the assault on a two battalion front. To the right operated the Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI), to the left the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada. They crossed the river in 27 Buffaloes of the 4th Royal Tank Regiment. The river crossing was almost unopposed. Once ashore the infantry immediately started to deepen the position by advancing towards the River Dyke about half a mile inland and by the evening had created a bridgehead that encompassed the village of Wilp. German shellfire became very intense in the course of the afternoon, which considerably hampered the Royal Canadian Engineers in their efforts to put in a bridge and some ferries. Nevertheless the bridge was finished at 2300 hours in the evening.

    At 0400 o'clock that night the Germans made two sharp counterattacks in company size, but ultimately these were beaten back with considerable losses to the attackers. Three enemy tanks, captured French Renaults, supported the counterattack at Wilp. All three were knocked out by the Canadian infantry with PIATs. At 0630 the first troop of tanks of 'A' Squadron of the 1st Hussars, shuttled over in rafts, reached the west bank of the IJssel, putting some armoured backbone to the bridgehead defence. More tanks were ferried across and by mid-morning of the 12th two entire Squadrons had reached the west bank. That same morning the 1st Cdn Inf Bde crossed over to the west bank and started to expand the bridgehead to the northwest towards Deventer and Twello.

    The Princess Patricia's lost four men during the operation:

    001 GOSSELIN R H/2691 - 12/04/1945 PRINCESS PATRICIA'S CANADIAN LIGHT INFANTRY, R.C.I.C.
    002 ILASEVICH H H/17855 - 12/04/1945 PRINCESS PATRICIA'S CANADIAN LIGHT INFANTRY, R.C.I.C.
    003 PURVIS JW H/18598 - 11/04/1945 PRINCESS PATRICIA'S CANADIAN LIGHT INFANTRY, R.C.I.C.
    004 SLYZUK J H/204139 - 11/04/1945 PRINCESS PATRICIA'S CANADIAN LIGHT INFANTRY, R.C.I.C.

    The casualties of the Seaforth Highlanders of Canada were:

    001 BABCOOK RF L/155642 - 12/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    002 BAILEY J K/50018 - 12/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    003 BARKER GW K/69649 - 11/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    004 BOLTZ JW K/4330 - 12/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    005 CHEER D K/3250 - 12/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    006 DEMERIA EA M/107541 - 12/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    007 GLENDINNING HL - - 11/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    008 LELOND LT H/18884 - 12/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    009 LOGAN RG K/50076 - 11/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    010 NAGELEISEN DA - - 12/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    011 SHIELDS EJ K/53104 - 11/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    012 STROMSMOE WR M/106492 - 12/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    013 TEREPOCKI B K/40590 - 11/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA
    014 WERNIUK S K/3446 - 12/04/1945 SEAFORTH HIGHLANDERS OF CANADA


    0 Operation Canonshot  Bailey.jpg 001.JPG

    0 Operation Canonshot  Buffalo.jpg 002.JPG

    For further impressions of the Op Canonshot: http://bevrijdingvandeveluwe.nl/hello-world/

    We visited the church at Wilp where a plaque commemorates the 19 men of the 48th Highlanders of Canada who fell during the operations in the area, including their CO, Lieutenant Colonel Donald A. MacKenzie, who was killed by shellfire on 12 April 1945. On that day the Highlanders, as part of the 1st Cdn Inf Bde, passed through the PPCLI and expanded the bridgehead to the NW.

    Memorial at Wilp for the 48th Highlanders- April 12'45.jpg

    See for the location: Plaque Church Wilp - Wilp (Voorst) - TracesOfWar.com
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    ramacal and smdarby like this.
  10. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Stolpi has shown the before and after. The ferry ride is no more than 20 meters but the significance of the crossing is huge.
     
  11. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    AS always -The Seaforths lost more men - after losing nearly the whole battalion in Italy

    Cheers
     
    Ron Goldstein likes this.
  12. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    Operation Cleanser & 'Battle for Otterlo' - April 16th, 1945

    While the 1st Cdn Inf Div started to steadily expand the bridgehead at Gorssel to the west towards Apeldoorn, the British 49th Infantry Division on Aprl 12th crossed the IJssel at Westervoort and cleared the empty and ruined city of Arnhem - the Germans had evacuated the entire population from the town right after the Airborne Battle in September 1944. In the night of the 14–15 April, the 5th Canadian Armoured Division entered the bridgehead and moved through the town of Arnhem towards the high ground north of the city. The division was given the mission known as 'Operation Cleanser' a quick dash north to secure towns between Arnhem and the IJsselmeer, thus cutting off the retreat of the German troops that were still facing east, confronting the 1st Cdn Inf Division. By that time the 1st Cdn Inf Div had almost moved up to the Apeldoorns Canal, running in front of Apeldoorn, and it seemed certain that the Germans were to make a serious stand along the line of the canal, thereby playing into the Canadian plans.

    In early morning of the 15th the 5th Cdn Armoured Division started the drive to the IJsselmeer along the most direct route from Arnhem through Otterlo and Barneveld to Nijkerk. Otterlo fell early on the 16th. The next objective was Barneveld some 9 miles further to the NW. Though Barneveld was not captured on the 16th. Elements of the 5th Cdn Armoured Div bypassed the village and moved on to Voorthuizen. Of was only now that the Germans at Apeldoorn realized the danger and started a hurried withdrawal to the west in order to escape encirclement. But they were too late.

    The enemy retreated along three routes. One group, that fled north, reached Harderwijk on the IJsselmeer and escaped to western Holland by boat. A second group, that tried to escape due west, ran into the head of the 5th Cdn Armoured Division near Voorthuizen. Many of the enemy soldiers in this group were killed or captured. During the night of 16- 17 April a third group, estimated at 600 to 900 strong, which tried to escape from Apeldoorn to the SW, ran into the Div HQ of the 5th Cnd Armoured Division at Otterlo. This encounter developped into the so-called 'Battle for Otterlo', a wild melee in the darkness which soon involved all of headquarter personnel, supply units and the gunners of several batteries that were in position in the immediate vicinity, among which gunners of the British 3rd Medium Regiment. Though the village of Otterlo was nearly overrun, the Germans were finally beaten back in fierce close-in fighting. There were instances where the 25-pounders fired point blank at the oncoming German infantry. It was a costly battle: over 90 German soldiers were killed and 114 taken prisoner; on the Canadian side 22 men (including 6 British) were killed and 48 wounded.


    For an account of the battle see (courtesy Dryan): http://bezeau.ca/h17fr/h17f075.htm and elsewhere on this site: WW2Talk

    We visited Otterlo, where a monument commemorates the battle for the village and the operations of the 5th Cdn Armoured Div:
    020.JPG 018.JPG IMG-20150920-00366.jpg IMG-20150920-00360.jpg

    Three of the fallen Brits rest at the nearby local cemetery:
    021.JPG 022.JPG 023.JPG 024.JPG

    For the location of the monument see: Liberation Route Marker 56 - Otterlo - TracesOfWar.com

    027.JPG

    From Otterlo we went to Ede where a monument reminds the residents of the Calgary Regiment (14th Armoured Regiment), 1st Canadian Armoured Brigade, that liberated Ede on 17 April 1945. The Regiment was supporting the British 49th Inf Div. The Sherman carries a 105mm gun.

    026.JPG 029.JPG 031.JPG 025.JPG
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    ramacal likes this.
  13. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Would any of the resident tank specialists comment on the number 13 marking?
     
  14. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member

    The End - May 5th, 1945

    De wereld 2.jpg

    To conclude our tour, we made a final stop at the small town of Wageningen. Here, in Hotel 'De Wereld', General Foulkes on May 5th, 1945, met with General Blaskowitz, in command of all German troops in 'Fortress Holland', to discuss the surrender of the German forces bottled up in western Holland. See also: Hotel De Wereld Wageningen - Wageningen - TracesOfWar.nl.

    032.JPG

    035.JPG

    See for further details 'Part II' of : http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhh-dhp/his/rep-rap/doc/ahqr-rqga/ahq056.pdf

    037.JPG 034.JPG

    For a picture of the Capitulation Act see: Capitulation Act 5 May 1945 - Gemeente Wageningen

    We had planned to have dinner at the hotel, but unfortunately the restaurant was closed that evening. Nevertheless the staff allowed us to have a look at the 'Conference Room' where the final discussions took place between Foulkes and Blaskowitz and has been preserved almost in its original state:

    694.jpg

    039.JPG 040.JPG

    For the location see: Plaquette Hotel De Wereld Wageningen - Wageningen - TracesOfWar.com

     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2019
    canuck and ramacal like this.
  15. stolpi

    stolpi Well-Known Member







     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2017
    canuck likes this.
  16. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Stolpi,
    Every Canadian kid should watch the youtube clips presented in post 74 and 75.
    Thank you.

    Tom Canning,
    Sydney Frost of PPCLI is featured. A great read that you sent my way. "Once a Patricia" ( I trust the title is correct as the book is back at the office.)
     
  17. Tom Canning

    Tom Canning WW2 Veteran WW2 Veteran

    Randy

    I thought Syd Frost spent to much space on his extended training and not enough on his action - but a good book nevertheless...

    -about # 13 - most Armoured battalions - as opposed to Tank Battalions kept all of their tanks on the one wireless net consequently they went to #15 in"C"

    squadron- you can note the black circle behind the number….

    The Tank battalions had their squadrons with different wireless nets so "A" would be A-1to 5- B1 to 5 etc
     
    stolpi likes this.
  18. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Tom

    Thanks for clarifying.

    cheers
     
  19. 17thDYRCH

    17thDYRCH Senior Member Patron

    Period. The END.


    Kind thanks to Stolpi for leading the way.
    Until next year!
     
  20. smdarby

    smdarby Well-Known Member

    Excellent posts - very informative. Looks like you had a good trip. Thanks for sharing.
     
    stolpi likes this.

Share This Page